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KCAA picks US firm to upgrade Kenyan airspace safety

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Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has awarded a contract to US-firm Orolia, through its McMurdo brand, to upgrade its aeronautical Search and Rescue (SAR) programme with the latest Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) technology.

McMurdo’s solution includes PRISMA C2, a software platform that converges critical emergency readiness and response solutions, such as coastal surveillance and aviation incident management.

McMurdo’s solution will provide SAR operators with real-time situational awareness tools and integrate external systems, such as Air Traffic Control, to facilitate enhanced planning and management of SAR missions. Additionally, as an expert provider of Cospas-Sarsat technology, McMurdo will seamlessly connect the Kenyan RCC to the Italian Mission Control Center (MCC), which will allow the RCC to receive beacon distress alert data.

Cospas-Sarsat is an international, humanitarian search and rescue system that uses satellites to detect and locate emergency beacons carried by ships, aircraft, or individuals. The system consists of a network of satellites, ground stations, mission control centers, and rescue coordination centers.

“PRISMA C2 will deliver real-time decision support data that will enable Kenyan rescue teams to effectively pre-plan and manage SAR missions to save more lives,” said Chris Loizou, Chief Business Development Officer for Orolia.

This contract builds on SAR and Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) solutions already in place in Botswana, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.

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“With McMurdo’s software-generated search planning, the KCAA will greatly advance its SAR capabilities nationwide – saving more lives with better data,” said Captain Gilbert M Kibe, Director General KCAA.

The KCAA oversees civil aviation maters such as safety of aircraft and persons on board, give accident investigation procedures, inspection and assessment of aviation structures and equipment and restriction of buildings in declared areas.

Africa has the highest rate of scheduled passenger and cargo fatal accidents per 10 million flights in the world at 35.3 with the lowest being North America with 2.1. A study by the Civil Aviation Authority, CAA in the United Kingdom in 2013 puts 30% of worldwide aviation fatal accidents as occurring in Africa.

In the past decade, Kenya has witnessed a number of high profile accidents that resulted in the deaths of senior government officials. In 2003, a plane crash in Busia resulted in the death of the then Minister of Labour Ahmed Khalif injuries to several other ministers. Investigations revealed that the cause of the accident was a combination of factors, including a short runway, poorly maintained runway surface and mechanical error in the plane that resulted in the plane touching electricity cables at the end of the run way and crashing on a nearby house.

Other high profile accidents include the 2006 crash of a Kenya air force plane in Marsabit that resulted in the death of 14 leaders who were carrying peace message with them for three warring communities in Northern Kenya. Those who died included the Internal Security assistant minister Mirugi Kariuki, East Africa Legislative Assembly member Abdulahi Adan, district commissioner Peter Kingola, and Anglican Bishop for Kirinyaga Diocese William Waqo, deputy leader of the Official Opposition and MP for North Horr, Dr Bonaya Godana, MP for Saku, Mr Abdi Sasura, Laisamis MP Mr Titus Ngoyoni, and Moyale’s Dr Guracha Galgallo.

Another crush occurred in 2008 in Narok resulting in the death of a Roads minister Kipkalya Kones and Lorna.

Another plane crash occurred in 2013 that took the life of Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti and his assistant Mr Orwa Ojode. There has been close to 40 cases of aviation accidents in the past 20 years, translating to an average of two cases annually.

According to researcher Mariera Alex, of the 36 airplane crashes recorded in the period between 2002 and 2012, only 12 had fatalities meaning only 33% of airplane accidents in Kenya result in fatalities.

The latest plane crash involved journalists who were traveling to cover Nasa campaigns in Baringo, where the victims sustained injuries.


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FRANCIS MULIhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Editor and writer, Francis Muli has a passion for human interest stories. He holds a BSc in Communication and Journalism from Moi University and has worked for various organisations including Kenya Television Service. Email:[email protected]
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